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Hip arthroscopy (keyhole surgery)

A hip arthroscopy can diagnose and treat a range of hip problems.

Surgeon explaining the procedure of a hip arthroscopy to a elder patient by showing scans and hip model
A hip arthroscopy is a procedure where your surgeon inserts a small camera through incisions (cuts) in the skin to examine and repair the inside of your hip joint. It is also known as keyhole surgery.

A hip arthroscopy can be used to diagnose a variety of problems with your hip. In many instances, it is also possible to treat your hip problems during an arthroscopy. If so, your surgeon uses specially designed instruments that can be inserted through the small incisions.

This page explains what hip arthroscopy is, what happens during the procedure and what to expect during your recovery.

Call or book online today to arrange a consultation to discuss private hip arthroscopy with a consultant of your choice at Circle Health Group.

The cost of your hip arthroscopy will vary depending on factors such as your reasons for having surgery, and whether your operation is diagnostic only, or also includes surgical treatment. Below are some starting prices as a guide. For a tailored quote, give us a call.

Hip arthroscopy

Please be aware that the following prices are a guide price. Your final price will be confirmed in writing following your consultation and any necessary diagnostic tests.

Patient pathway Initial consultation Diagnostic Investigations Main treatment Post discharge care Guide price
Hospital fees N/A Not included £7,400 Included £7,400
Consultants fees from £200 N/A Included Included £200
Guide price £7,600

Hip arthroscopy and surgery

Please be aware that the following prices are a guide price. Your final price will be confirmed in writing following your consultation and any necessary diagnostic tests.

Patient pathway Initial consultation Diagnostic Investigations Main treatment Post discharge care Guide price
Hospital fees N/A Not included £8,600 Included £8,600
Consultants fees from £200 N/A Included Included £200
Guide price £8,800

The main symptom leading to hip arthroscopy is chronic hip pain. The procedure allows your surgeon to see inside your hip joint to find and diagnose problems that could be causing your pain. 
Hip arthroscopy is normally considered when nonsurgical treatments such as rest, painkillers and physiotherapy haven’t worked.

Hip arthroscopy can also be used to diagnose other problems affecting the hip including:

  • Stiffness
  • Reduced mobility
  • Reduced range of motion
  • Instability (clicking or giving way of the hip joint when walking or running)

Hip arthroscopy is often used to diagnose problems in the hip when the cause of hip pain is not clear from imaging scans like X-ray, CT, or MRI.

It can also be used to treat certain conditions including:

Femoroacetabular impingement (FAI)

This is a condition where the ball of the hip joint pinches against the socket causing pain and stiffness. It is a common cause of arthritis. During hip arthroscopy, some of the extra bone is removed to improve the shape of the hip joint and relieve symptoms.

Labral tear

The labrum is a ring of cartilage in the socket part of the hip joint that helps keep your hip in position as you move. A tear in the labrum can cause symptoms such as pain, stiffness and a clicking or locking sensation when you walk. A labral tear can be trimmed or repaired during hip arthroscopy.

Removal of loose bodies

Loose bodies such as fragments of cartilage, a diseased or inflamed joint lining or painful bone spurs can be removed during hip arthroscopy.

Hip dysplasia

This is a condition where the socket part of the hip joint is shallower than usual. This can cause the ball part of the socket to become displaced and makes it more likely for the labrum to tear.


Inflammation of the synovium (the connective tissue that lines the joint) is a common cause of hip pain. In severe cases that don't improve with non-surgical treatment, a synovectomy may be performed to remove the synovium.


Infection in the hip joint can be washed out during a hip arthroscopy.

At your first appointment with Circle Health Group, you will be seen by a consultant orthopaedic surgeon, a doctor specialising in conditions affecting the bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, and tendons.

Your consultant will ask you about your symptoms and perform a physical examination of your hip joint. They may arrange for scans such as an X-ray, CT, or MRI to check the bones and soft tissues of your hip.

At the end of your appointment, your consultant will decide whether hip arthroscopy is a suitable procedure for you based on your symptoms, physical examination and the results of your tests and scans.

At Circle Health Group, your first consultation is where we get to know you, discuss your expectations for treatment and encourage you to ask any questions you may have. It is important to us that you are as well-informed and comfortable as possible before, during, and after your treatment, so please feel free to ask your consultant any questions you may have.

Hip arthroscopy is performed through tiny cuts in the skin, eliminating the need for large incisions and damage to large areas of muscle. It has many benefits over standard open surgery including:

  • Diagnosis and treatment can often be performed during the same procedure
  • Lower risk of complications and faster recovery time
  • Less time in hospital after surgery
  • It can slow the development of hip arthritis by treating the causes early
  • It can delay or prevent the need for hip replacement surgery by treating osteoarthritis in the early stages

Your consultant will tell you everything you need to do to prepare for your surgery. If there's anything you're not sure about, or if you have any questions about how to prepare for your surgery, speak to your consultant or call the hospital for advice. Being well prepared for your surgery will help to ease any anxiety you may have as well as allow your surgery and recovery to go more smoothly.

Before your surgery, tell your consultant about any medical conditions or allergies you have and any medication, including over-the-counter medicines you are taking.

Your consultant may tell you to stop taking some medications like blood thinners before your operation. This is to reduce the risk of bleeding during and after your surgery.

You will not be able to eat or drink anything from midnight on the day of your operation.

What lifestyle changes can I make before my surgery?

Being in optimal health before your surgery can reduce the risk of complications and speed up your recovery

To make sure you are as healthy as possible before your surgery:

  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of fruit, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains
  • If you smoke, try to stop at least eight weeks before your surgery
  • Avoid alcohol for a few days before and after your surgery. Alcohol thins the blood and can increase the risk of bleeding
  • Take regular exercise

Do I need to prepare my home for after my surgery?

After your hip arthroscopy, you can expect to use a walking aid like crutches or a walker for around one to two weeks. You may need help with household tasks like shopping, cooking, and cleaning during this time. We recommend that someone stays with you for at least the first night after you are discharged from hospital.

Preparing your home for after your surgery can make things easier during your recovery. Some things you can do to prepare your home include:

  • Stock up your freezer and cupboards with easy-to-prepare foods
  • Prepare single-portion meals that can be easily heated up
  • Remove items you could trip over such as low tables, magazine stands and rugs
  • Keep things you use frequently like books, medications, and the TV remote control within easy reach

What happens during hip arthroscopy will vary depending on whether your arthroscopy aims to diagnose a problem, treat a problem, or both. Talk to your consultant about what will happen during your arthroscopy.

Hip arthroscopy is usually performed under general anaesthetic which means you'll be asleep for the procedure.

After the anaesthetic has taken effect, your leg will be placed into traction, a method where your leg is pulled straight, and your hip stretched into the correct position for surgery.

Your consultant will make between two and four incisions into your hip.

Fluid is injected into your hip to allow your consultant to see inside the joint more clearly.

A small camera called an arthroscope is inserted into one of the incisions and images of your hip joint are transmitted onto a monitor.

Your consultant will examine your hip joint to look for any abnormalities that could be causing your hip pain. If there are problems in your joint, your consultant will insert surgical instruments through the other incisions to treat them.

When the procedure is finished, your incisions are closed using sutures or surgical tape and a sterile dressing is applied.

How long your hip arthroscopy takes will depend on what is done during the surgery, but the procedure normally takes between 30 and 90 minutes.

Recovery from any type of surgery is different for everyone and depends on factors such as your age, general health and whether or not there were any complications during your surgery or recovery.

Your consultant will be able to give you an estimated recovery timeline based on your individual circumstances.

After your surgery, you will be taken to the recovery room where you will be monitored closely until the effects of the anaesthetic have worn off. You will then be taken to your room.

How many nights will I need to stay in hospital?

You'll normally spend one night in hospital after your surgery and can usually go home the following day.

Will I be able to drive home?

You will not be able to drive yourself home from hospital after your hip arthroscopy. Please make arrangements for someone to come and collect you, or we can organise a taxi if you prefer.

How soon can I go back to work?

How soon you can go back to work after your surgery depends on what was done during your procedure, your individual recovery, and the type of job you do.

You should expect to take at least a week off work after your hip arthroscopy, longer if your job involves a lot of activity or manual labour. You can normally expect to resume light activities after around two to three weeks but should avoid strenuous activity or heavy lifting for several months. Talk to your consultant about when you can expect to return to work after your hip arthroscopy.

How soon can I drive?

You should not drive until you can safely control your vehicle and perform an emergency stop comfortably. This is normally around two weeks after your surgery. Driving before you are ready could be dangerous and may invalidate your insurance. Make sure you get the all-clear from your consultant and your insurance company before driving after your hip arthroscopy.

When will I be back to normal?

Recovery from hip arthroscopy is a gradual process that is different for everyone.

For the first few days after your surgery, your hip may appear swollen, and you may experience a sensation of fluid and gurgling noises around your hip joint. This is normal and is due to the fluid that was injected into your hip during the procedure. The fluid will be absorbed by the body within a few days and swelling normally subsides after about a week.

It's normal to experience some pain after your surgery. You will be given painkillers to manage any post-operative pain, but please tell a member of your healthcare team if you experience any pain or discomfort after your surgery.

Sutures are normally removed between seven and ten days after surgery.

After your surgery, you will need to use crutches or a walker to get around for at least the first couple of weeks.

You will need to have physiotherapy for six weeks after your surgery. Your physiotherapist will show you some exercises you can do during your recovery. These exercises are vital to your recovery and it's important to do them daily as directed by your physiotherapist.

You may experience pain after activity for around two to three months after your surgery. Full recovery from hip arthroscopy normally takes between six and nine months.

As with all types of surgery hip, arthroscopy carries a small risk of complications. Your consultant will explain all the possible risks and complications before your surgery.

Being as well-informed as possible about what to expect from your surgery will help put your mind at rest and allow you to make an informed decision so please ask any questions you may have.

Possible complications of any surgery include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Adverse reactions to the anaesthetic

Possible complications specific to hip arthroscopy include:

  • Bleeding into the joint
  • Nerve damage
  • Numbness of the groin or genitalia, impotence, pressure sores, or blisters due to traction during surgery
  • Swelling and leakage of fluid caused by fluid being pumped into the hip during the procedure
  • Infection of the incision sites or in the hip joint
  • Blood clots in the legs (deep vein thrombosis) or lungs (pulmonary embolism)
  • Very rarely, damage to the blood vessels that supply the hip causing tissue death (avascular necrosis), hip fracture

We answer some of your most commonly asked questions about hip arthroscopy.

How long does hip arthroscopy take?

How long a hip arthroscopy takes varies according to what is done during the procedure. Most hip arthroscopies take between thirty minutes and one and a half hours.

Is hip arthroscopy major surgery?

Compared to open surgery, arthroscopic surgery is a non-invasive procedure that is performed through small incisions in the skin. The risk of complications is lower and the recovery time faster than with traditional open surgery. As such, hip arthroscopy is not normally considered major surgery.

How long does it take to recover from hip arthroscopy?

Recovery from hip arthroscopy is a gradual process that varies from person to person. How quickly you recover from the procedure depends on many factors including your age, general health, what was done during your surgery and whether there were any complications during or after your operation. On average it takes between six and nine months to recover fully from hip arthroscopy.

How long does pain last after hip arthroscopy?

You can expect to have some post-operative pain for the first few days or weeks after your surgery. Your consultant will prescribe painkillers to help with this. It's common to have some pain after activity for around three to six months after your surgery, after which it should begin to subside.

How do I shower after hip arthroscopy?

You should not shower for the first two days after your hip arthroscopy. After this, you can remove the bulky dressing but leave the steri-strips in place. Before you shower, cover your incision sites with a waterproof dressing. You can let the water wash over them, but don't scrub your incision sites. After your shower, pat your incision sites dry with a clean towel and leave them open to the air. Don't apply any lotions, creams, or ointments to your incision sites.

How do I sleep after hip arthroscopy?

You will need to sleep on your back for the first night after your surgery. After this, you can sleep on either side, but it may be more comfortable to sleep on your back or on the non-operated side. Some people find it helps to put a pillow between their knees when sleeping on their side.

At Circle Health Group we have the experience and expertise to ensure the best possible care and outcome for our patients. As a patient with Circle Health Group, you can expect the highest standards of care including:

  • Flexible appointment times and locations that are convenient for you
  • The freedom to choose which hospital and consultant suit your needs
  • Personalised, consultant-led treatment plans tailored to your individual needs
  • Comfortable and safe private facilities maintained by expert multidisciplinary teams
  • Private ensuite rooms as standard
  • A range of delicious healthy meals
  • Affordable, fixed-price packages with aftercare included
  • Flexible payment options to help you spread the cost of your care

If you would like to see a consultant or learn more about hip arthroscopy book your appointment online today or call a member of our team directly on 0141 300 5009.

Content reviewed by Circle in-house team in February 2023. Next review due February 2026.

  1. Hip Arthroscopy OrthoInfo
  2. Hip Arthroscopy  The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  3. Hip Arthroscopy John Hopkins
  4. Hip Arthroscopy Cleveland Clinic

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